Yeoh defends decision to give RM20k from ministry funds to SIS


KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh has defended the decision to provide funds under the ministry to Sisters in Islam (SIS), which was labelled a "deviant" group before.

"That is a religious issue and it is a matter for the minister in charge of religion.

"For my portfolio, we don't look at religion as we look at the target group. Non-government organisations such as SIS have done extensive work," she told reporters at Parliament lobby on Thursday (March 21).

Yeoh said that the allocation was provided for SIS as the group had given free legal aid to over 8,000 women.

She was asked to respond to recent demands by Selangor PAS that Yeoh retract the RM20,000 channelled to SIS.

Selangor PAS commissioner Sallehin Mukhyi said that Yeoh should apologise to the Sultan of Selangor, Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and all Muslims for disrespecting a fatwa against SIS.

In 2014, the Selangor Fatwa Committee and Mais declared that any individual or groups which adopted the ideologies of "liberalism" and "pluralism", including SIS, were Islamic "deviants".

SIS had in 2014 filed an application for a court order to revoke the fatwa issued against them.

On March 2 last year, the Court of Appeal, in reversing a High Court judgment, allowed SIS to challenge the gazetted fatwa in Selangor.

On Sept 25, the Federal Court's seven-man panel chaired by Chief Justice Richard Malanjum, had ordered the case to be remitted to the High Court to hear the merit of the application.

A decision on whether a civil court had the jurisdiction to hear a judicial review application relating to religious edicts is still pending.